Washougal High School junior Mariah Moran is acting as a bridge between Washougal students and that city’s officials.
Moran was introduced at the Jan. 13 Washougal city council meeting as the Washougal School District’s (WSD) representative to the city council.
Moran will deliver reports to the council during meetings and share information from the meetings with Washougal students.
“From what I understand, (my role) is to make sure that the school district and the city are communicating,” Moran said. “I just (want to) bring a little more perspective from the younger generation to the city council. I hope to learn a little more about parliamentary procedures and how government really works. I mean, we all talk about it, and we learn a little bit about it and skim the surface at school, but I want to get my hands into it and learn.”
Moran said she didn’t have much interest in politics before participating in the 2019 Washington State University-Vancouver 4-H Youth Development Program’s “Know Your Government,” a civic education initiative that teaches teens about the legislation and judicial systems, elections, party platforms and other government-related issues.
“We went up to Olympia for a weekend and learned more about different branches of the government,” Moran said. “That really kind of perked my interest. Every three years, (the program has) to focus on a non-branch of the government, and the big thing last year was the influence of social media, and that kind of got my attention. I was like, ‘Oh, this is kind of a different perspective.’ That got me into it.”
The selection of Moran completed a process that took longer than WSD and city officials had anticipated.
Several months ago, WSD Assistant Superintendent Aaron Hansen connected with Moran, who had expressed an interest in becoming Washougal High’s representative to the Washougal school board. That position, however, required the representative to be a member of the Washougal High School Associated Student Body, and Moran was not.
With her new interest in government and politics, Moran was eager to sign up as the city representative.
“We wanted someone who’s interested in volunteering their time and seeing how the city government process works. I’m excited to see how it goes for her,” Hansen said.
“I’m hoping that this is going to be a stretch for her, that maybe this will help her make decisions about what she wants to do next. She can provide a perspective to the city council, and she can then share with her friends. And for her own growth, this could be something she pursues.”
Moran is a member of the Washougal High girls golf team and National Honor Society. She also plays trombone for her high school’s wind ensemble, jazz band and pep band.
“Mariah is a wonderful young lady,” said WHS band teacher Kelly Ritter. “She is highly motivated, hardworking and an absolute joy to be around. She always has a positive attitude, which is contagious amongst her peers. Whenever there is an after-school event or extra work to be done, Mariah is always there to help out. Her communication with adults is mature beyond her years, and I’m certain this will serve her well in the role of student representative to the city council.”
“Not only is she a high-achieving student, but she’s quite talented as well. Her section in the bands is a force to be reckoned with, and Mariah is front and center,” Ritter continued. “I feel lucky as her teacher to have such an awesome young lady be a part of the band program at (Washougal High).”
Morran has been playing the trombone since she was in the sixth grade.
“Music is universal,” she said. “I can relate to a lot of people through it. I mean, everyone has their different interpretations, but they’re all beautiful in their own way.
“I find music is common ground that we can all relate to, and I have a hard time finding that now — in school and life.”
Moran has been a Girl Scout for the past 10 years.
“I’m working toward my gold award, which is (the Girl Scouts’) community service award,” she said. “I’m still looking at options, but I haven’t committed to one yet.
“But I did earn my silver and bronze (awards). I helped my troop create cat toys for a humane society for my bronze. And my Girl Scout leader’s a huge supporter of the Walk and Knock (food bank fundraiser), so I helped with that for quite a while.”
Moran has also been involved with local 4-H organizations for the past several years, showing cows, sheep and chickens at the Skamania County Fair.
At home, her eight sheep, five goats, three cows, 50 chickens and several reptiles keep Moran, who is interested in a veterinarian career, busy.
Her mother grew up around animals, Moran said, and learned responsibility and leadership skills by caring for her animals.
“When we lived in town, I borrowed some dairy goats, and that’s how I started,” Moran said. “My parents saw how much I loved it, and we bought acreage and moved. It’s quite a bit (of work), and it’s a big commitment to make sure everybody’s happy and healthy, but it’s pushed me to grow as a human.”